Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yeah, Right!

Baghdad bans gunfire for big soccer match

Yeah right....banning gunfire in Baghdad. That's like banning gunfire on the first day of deer season in Pennsylvania! Or banning speeding on a Nascar track!! I'm sure it will work well.

So Sayeth The Shack

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's All About The Size

OK based on the title you might expect this post to be about a certain body part, but it isn't.

I'm talking about TV screens here!

In the past several years the size of TV screens has gone in 2 different directions. On one extreme we have the big screen gizmos that would take up my entire living room wall, and that I might actually be able to see without my glasses. On the other extreme we now have the ability to view movies or TV programs on relatively small computer monitors and even smaller cell phone and i-pod screens. Now maybe watching a show or a movie on my computer monitor would be OK, if it were the only alternative, but on a cell phone or i-pod? NO WAY! I really don't get the attraction of watching shows on those little gizmos. First of all, the screen is way too small and the sound is crummy. Second of all I prefer to watch TV in the comfort of my home on a screen that I can see, cuddled up on the sofa with the Shack-Wife and maybe consuming a bowl of ice-cream with hot fudge/peanut butter topping and whipped cream on top (my nightly snack). I might be an impatient person but I am not so impatient that I cannot wait to get home to watch something. Yes I do have a VCR and TiVo so I can watch what I want when I want to, but I would guess most people who have cell phones and i-pods also have that capability. So is there really a need for these tiny screen TV's? I don't think so. It is just another example of marketing to make people think they need something that they really don't.

Anyway I am afraid that I have purchased my last television set. I have had it for over 7 years. It is a modest size (36 inch diagonal) regular TV set from Sears. Nothing fancy. The problem is that they pretty much don't make "regular" TV sets anymore. Everything is big-screen, or high-definition, or plasma screen, or something else. I really don't know what is the difference between high-def, plasma or whatever. Except that they all cost a big bundle and I won't be able to afford any of them. So after this one goes kaput, I might end up watching TV on my computer monitor, or, God forbid, my cell phone (no I don't have an i-pod).

So Sayeth The Shack

This Is News?

At the place where I work there are several big-screen TV's mounted on the wall and tuned to various stations, including some of the all-news stations, mostly Fox News.

It seems most of the so-called "news" carried by Fox concerns Lindsay Lohan's DUI, Brittany Spears' "meltdowns" (whatever a meltdown that we used to call a nervous breakdown?) and various other problems of other people who have way too much money and don't know what to do with it or how to behave. Every once in a while they throw in a car chase to break the boredom. I can't believe enough people are interested in that stuff for them to devote so much airtime to it.

So anyway I've come up with a new advertising motto for Fox News, based on what I have seen: "59 minutes an hour of totally worthless crap".

So Sayeth The Shack

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Did They Do It?

Last year, for an entire road construction season, a road that I use daily was closed so that a center turning lane could be added. It took the whole year to add one lane to about a one mile length of road. (Most of the time it seemed like they weren't doing anything).

So I did some figuring, just recently. At the rate that project was completed, it would have taken 1244 years to build Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania!

So I'm wondering...given the above calculation, and how long it takes to complete ANY road project these days, how did they actually ever build the interstate? Guess they must have worked faster back then, or something. Or they just did such a shoddy job that it's no wonder it has to be rebuilt EVERY YEAR!

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bush's Colon

So they didn't find any cancer in Bush's colon....

But he sure keeps pulling a lot of stupid ideas out of it!!!

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Who Benefits From Minimum Wage Increase?

My daughter works at a local pizza place. A few weeks ago they put into effect new (higher) prices. Many other pizza places in the area did the same, as did, I am sure, most restaurants. Interestingly, these price increases coincide with the increase in minimum wage which took effect July 1. This makes me anyone better off because of the minimum wage increase? I can tell you that I, for one, am not. My salary is not tied to the minimum wage so it does not change when the minimum wage does. The businesses are neither better nor worse off. They simply pass on the increased costs to the consumer. That is one thing I hate about capitalism. It is always the consumer who has to absorb increased costs. I cannot have my wages increased just because the prices I pay for things has gone up. So it is always me, the consumer, that gets screwed every time. The minimum-wage workers are probably no better off either. They get paid more, but they have to turn around and pay more for things that now cost more because of their own wage increase.

So does anyone really benefit? Wait! I think I know! Its the GOVERNMENT that benefits! They can collect more tax on the higher wages and also on the higher prices. They benefit both ways! Imagine that! the government enacting policy that benefits no one except themselves!

So Sayeth The Shack

Thursday, July 05, 2007

They Deserved To Die

From CNN:

-- A neighbor apparently angry about fireworks at a noisy Fourth of July party shot three people to death early Thursday and wounded two others, police said.

Terrance Hough Jr., a 35-year-old off-duty firefighter, was arrested in connection with the shootings, police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho said.

No charges had been filed Thursday morning because police were still gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses, Stacho said. There was no phone listing for Hough's address.

Police had received a number of complaints in recent years about loud parties, fireworks and drag racing connected to the house where the victims were shot, Stacho said. Some complaint calls came from Hough's address, but no one called police about the party Thursday night.

The neighbors were throwing a party when two men and a woman, all in their 20s, were shot to death shortly after midnight, Stacho said. He said another man was shot in the elbow and a woman was wounded in the hand.

Shack Says: These people deserved to be shot. I've had neighbors like this...they don't give a flying fuck about anyone. You tell them they are disturbing you and they just do it more. If I had had a gun a few years ago some of my former neighbors would have been dead too. For the same reason.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, July 02, 2007

Of Toll Booths, Interchanges and Landfills

These three are hot discussion topics around here lately so I will offer some of my views. The idea of tolls on I-80 is the most recent. I will start with that and work my way back to the landfill.

The Pennsylvania legislature has recently proposed to collect tolls on I-80 to raise funds for road repair and construction, and for mass transit. This is not a new proposal. The idea has been advanced at least a couple of times before, but it has never happened (yet). I am not against the idea, but I personally would not pay a penny to drive on that road. I am not as widely traveled as some people, but it is the worst road I have ever been on. Every summer, huge stretches, probably more than 50 percent of the distance across the state, are ripped up for construction. So you end up putzing along a less than one lane wide "road" for mile after mile after mile. And if there is a wreck or breakdown, forget it; you're stuck for hours. In the winter, when there is snow or ice, the Penndot idea seems to be to wait for the stuff to melt rather than plow or salt. And then of course you have these jackasses that don't seem to realize that when there is snow or ice on the road or the visibility is poor, it might be a good idea to slow down (or even get off) so you don't end up in or causing one of those famous 100-vehicle wrecks that backs up traffic halfway across the state. I would rather take Gorton Rd to Ohio, if it went that far. Now if you are lucky there is a week or two in the late fall and early spring, between winter and construction, that the road can almost be a joy to drive on, IF it isn't filled with bumps and potholes. Now the idea is to scatter some toll booths across the state. One at each border and a few others who knows where. These will be permanent traffic bottlenecks. All traffic will have to stop long enough to pay. Vehicles will back up. Then there will be wrecks as someone will
be barreling along, not realize the traffic is slowing or stopping, and smash into someone. This will make the road even more dangerous than it is now. Plus the towns near the toll collection sites will have an increase in traffic as vehicles temporarily exit to avoid the tolls. The only safe way to collect tolls, and it will be expensive , at least at first, is to put toll booths at each interchange, like the turnpike.

Now on to other matters. I feel that the proposed landfill near the border of Rush and Snow Show Township should be built, but ONLY IF the proposed I-80 interchange is built along with it. Rts 144,53, Gorton Rd and others are simply not built for the big trucks that would be going in and out of there. And the interchange does not have to be open to Gorton Rd. It could be for the landfill only, so long as the landfills owners pay for it and none of our tax dollars are used. The landfill could bring some good jobs to the area. As far as the land use is concerned, sure it's wooded now, but a generation or so ago it was mined and logged, so it definitely has a history of being other than woodland. And there used to be a landfill in Snow Shoe Township anyway. With new technology, this one would probably be cleaner than the old one.

So Sayeth The Shack

The Worst Run Business

If you or I were in business and we ran our business the way oil companies run theirs, we would soon be out of business.

Every year, in the spring and early summer, the price of gasoline rises. The oil companies say it is because people are driving more as the weather gets nicer and vacations get underway, so the supply goes down and the price goes up. Imagine that. It happens every year, yet every year they(the oil companies) seem to be caught off guard, so the price goes up.

Every year, in the fall and early winter, the price of heating oil goes up. The oil companies say it is because the weather is getting colder and people are using more heating oil. Wow. Imagine that. It gets colder in the winter. Happens every year. But again, the oil companies always seem to be unprepared, and the price goes up.

Over the past few weeks the price of gasoline dropped a bit. There was an "unexpected" rise in inventory of gasoline. Duh! You jack up the price high enough and at least some people...the ones with some common sense, cut back on their unnecessary usage. However, just this past Friday I read that crude went over $70/barrel because of a report that inventories were down. So I'll be that gas prices will soon be back over $3/gallon, if they aren't already, just in time for the holiday.

It seems that any other company could anticipate these seasonal fluctuations in demand and plan ahead for them so as not to anger their customers with sudden price changes. But not the oil companies. They don't care. They don't have too. The only thing keeping them in business is the lack of alternatives. In other words, they are the only show in town. They are a monopoly. And a monopoly can do whatever it wants. And it usually wants to screw the customer.

So Sayeth The Shack